How to Write Naturally for SEO

To write successful online content, writers need to balance SEO practices with good writing skills. However, it is common for online writers to overthink the rules of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and lose touch with how to write naturally and speak to readers through the page. 

Keep in mind that rankings on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) have come a long way since the inception of Google. Ranking algorithms have since learned to reward well-written content with placements on the first page of search results. As stated in Google’s SEO Starter Guide, “Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors…” This goes to show that today in 2019, the SEO rulebook is focused on the qualities of good writing.

In the name of good writing, here are a few tips on how to fluidly relate to your reader while successfully hitting the mark with SEO when drafting online copy. 

Treat Keywords Like Anchor Points in a Web

Online writers once used the common practice of keyword stuffing. With keyword stuffing, writers would prioritize keyword density over good copy for the sake of high SERP rankings, which often lleads to a plague of poor syntax and meaningless copy that spread throughout online blogs and articles. The outcome? Readers would choke on the bad writing, and ultimately fail to comprehend any message beyond, “I wrote this article for the thoughtless goal of ranking high on a SERP”. 

Although still important, keywords don’t carry as much SEO weight as they once did. To avoid sounding like an unskilled robot when writing copy for SEO, each word, sentence, and paragraph you write needs to have meaning. Rather than isolating a specific keyword and loading it as many times as you can into body paragraphs while ignoring its relation to surrounding words, treat your keywords like anchor points in a web, and the supplementary words as the strands that connect them. 

If you pay attention, many of the words you write to describe your subject will naturally relate to your primary keyword. If your keyword is alterations, for example, words like hem, sew, tailor, and adjust naturally move your sentences and ideas forward. Anchored by the keywords, each word within the web will add to your readers’ understanding while simultaneously reminding them of your overarching subject. 

Your Efforts Will Be Rewarded by Latent Semantic Indexing

Today, Google algorithms have advanced to encompass a broad range of factors when matching search queries with relevant results. Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is one example. Words and phrases related to the searcher’s keyword are recognized as part of the keyword topic. With LSI, Google bots will recognize the effort you put into using a diverse set of related words to write holistically about your subject, and reward this effort with SERP ranking points.

Focus on Readability, Writing Techniques, and Wordcraft

Many best practices of writing for SEO today are parallel with the best practices of overall good writing. The ability to write copy that is well-crafted and easy to read will satisfy readers—and Google’s algorithms will notice. 

Write with an Informal Tone

Well-crafted, easy-to-read copy takes advantage of an informal tone. We know its a professional endeavor to write copy for your website, but there is no need to bog a reader down with stiff, formal writing. Writers who use an informal tone will create copy that is unequivocally relatable and easy to read. For even the most complex subjects, such as How Artificial Intelligence Works, unraveling the topic with an informal, relatable voice will put your reader at ease and allow them to feel confident in their capacity to comprehend what you are describing through the page.

Activate Your Copy 

Writers who utilize the active voice do a huge favor for their readers. SEO algorithms also seek the active voice to differentiate engaging copy for copy that falls flat. To stay on point with both your reader and Google’s bots, write active sentences like, “This season, Proenza Schouler uses layered denim to build an edgy look,” rather than passive sentences like, “This season, layered denim is used by Proenza Schouler to build an edgy look.”

Keep it Brief and Structured

One last important technique for you to keep in mind while writing for SEO: brevity and structure. As many SEO writers know, breaking copy down into digestible segments with headlines results in higher scores on Google SERP rankings. Along those same lines, well-crafted sentences tend to pack a punch in a few number of words. Concise, well-structured content that is relatable and active effortlessly captures the attention of Google algorithms and readers—and also indicates a well-written piece of writing.

Prioritize the Reader’s Experience

Above all, prioritize your readers. Google algorithms are always working towards content that prioritizes the reader. You want your reader to trust that you’re writing for them and not just writing to capture the highest SERP ranking. Readers will trust your content if it provides meaningful information that holds true to what was promised in the headline. 

Deliver What You Promise

When a reader clicks on an article titled, “How to Style Boyfriend Jeans” they want just that: information about the different ways to look good while wearing boyfriend jeans. If they click into the article and find one flimsy example of how a celebrity wore boyfriend jeans last week, and a slew of links that lead to web stores selling boyfriend jeans, peppered through copy that repeats the keyword “boyfriend jeans” an uncountable number of times, your reader will leave your page frustrated, and your article’s bounce rate will likely skyrocket. 

Instead, provide your reader with copy that follows through with what you promised in the headline. An article on “How to Style Boyfriend Jeans” will be much more successful if it lays out a few examples and uses the keyword only where it would naturally occur: 

1. Wear boyfriend jeans rolled up, with sneakers.

2. Style with a loose-fitting top, tucked in. 

3. To make the look more feminine and less boyish, wear your jeans over a bodysuit paired with stiletto heels. 

By the time they finish reading your article, your reader should be thrilled to have gained the information they were searching for. Putting your reader first and providing them with the content promised in your headline will make for a satisfied reader and a successful piece of writing. Putting your reader first will ultimately help with SEO and SERP rankings as well, because Google algorithms are considering your reader, too. With decades of data collected on user search patterns, Google has smartened up to understand what readers really want, and how to provide them with exactly that. 

SEO Algorithms Prioritize Natural Language

When it comes to SEO, the good news is that Google has harnessed an understanding of how we naturally read and write to gauge the quality of online articles. Diversity in word choice; well-structured, readable content; and satisfied readers are all indicative of an effortless and natural piece of writing, and are all factors that lead to high SERP rankings. Metrics like low bounce rates, high session durations, and backlinking are ways that Google can tell you were able to write an interesting piece that captivated your reader’s full attention and, if you’re killer, inspired them to share your work. 

Connect with RedShift Writers

Today, effective SEO takes good writing, and good writing takes practice. At RedShift, good writing is our practice. 

RedShift Writers provides writing services that optimize for search engines and generate reader interest in your website. Connect with us today.

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